Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

African Ambience: The Ultimate African Dance Party [Shanachie, 1999]
Skipping all over the continent, raiding definitive albums by King Sunny Ade and Franco & Rochereau, this is not the kind of Afrocomp that ordinarily gets my seal of approval. But does it ever do what it sets out to do, and what competitors on Music Club, Mango, Putumayo, and others too crappy to remember don't: Segue the incongruous vocal attacks and rhythmic gestalts of, for instance, Youssou N'Dour's "Immigres" and Thomas Mapfumo's "Nyoka Musango" into the kind of danceable mix tape world-beat's venture capitalists once imagined we'd all be partying to by now. An ideal introduction for the neophyte, who might then branch out to Ade, Franco, Rochereau, and Loketo's Extra Ball too. Me, I hope I can find that album by Cameroon's Masao for less than the $26 it'll set me back at CDnow. A